Scientists win U.N. data prize for monitoring threats to South African biodiversity hotspot, UB News Center

The fynbos of South Africa in Table Mountain National Park Cape Town. This ecologically important shrubland is found in the country’s Cape Floristic Region, which is one of the richest repositories of plant life in the world. Credit: Adam Wilson

BUFFALO, N.Y. — South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region is one of the richest repositories of plant life in the world.

Here, about 20 percent of Africa’s flora grows in a landscape that accounts for less than 0.5 percent of the continent’s area, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The diversity of plant life is among the highest on the planet. About 69 percent of the region’s estimated 9,000 plant species live nowhere else in the world.

Now, a team of scientists including University at Buffalo biogeographer Adam Wilson has won a United Nations (U.N.) data prize for creating a digital tool for monitoring threats to this biological jewel.  

The researchers — including Wilson, PhD; ecologist Jasper Slingsby, PhD, at the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON); and data scientist Glenn Moncrieff, PhD, at Ixio Analytics in South Africa — were one of six winning teams in U.N. Global Pulse’s Data for Climate Action Challenge, which asked scholars to use private sector data sources to address problems tied to climate change.

Published November 16th, 2017

UB News Center

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